In Pursuit of the American Dream
This country was founded on different ideas of what the American dream looks like. For some, pursuing any form of that dream is the only way they can provide a better life for themselves and their loved ones.
While walking through Central Park one would notice the dark complexioned men soliciting Pedicab rides with signs and bikes by their sides. These men stand right in front of the entrance hoping to get anyone in their Pedicab and speak minimal English but continue to speak to everyone.
“I do this job because I have too, I have a family back in Africa that I must provide for.” Kay from Nigeria says, “America has a better education system and overall better lifestyle.” Many African Pedicab drivers’ cycle Americans so they can achieve the American dream.
Kay is a 36 year old Nigerian working at Central Park to not only make a better life for himself but to save enough of his pedicab money to bring his daughter, back in Nigeria, over to America. He also attends ASA College and is majoring in business. “I attend school in the morning and then later come out here to the park to make my money.”
Joseph of Queens, but originally from Nigeria has lived in America for the past 9 years and started cycling for Pedicabs eight years ago. Joseph now sits in the pedicabs watching and answering all the other Pedicab drivers’ questions. “I am the boss now, I have finally paid my dues and can sit and watch.”
Joseph explains how Pedicab is a multi million dollar industry and says many workers can make up to 2500 dollars a day. “Many of my riders come here to America and do not know what they want to do with their lives but I teach the riders life lessons and show them it is possible to succeed with hard work.”
Barkati, originally from Mali explains the challenges of being in America. “Many people don’t want us here but we only come because we see America as better. The government does not understand that we have a better opportunity here and for our families back home.” The struggle that the young African men face on the daily make these men work harder and sale harder because it’s the outcome that this men look forward to.
“The American Dream to me is being able to educate myself of all the knowledge there is being offered. Whether I have to pedal to be able to learn in school I will do that with the Pedicab job. “ says 18 year old Steven who just graduated from his New York high school last week.
“The American dream can be taking for granted by some Americans, I teach my riders that even though our origins are not from America we now live in America and we are just as American as the couple in the back of the Pedicab are. “ says Joseph.
These drivers all over Central Park may be ignored and pushed around but they continue their jobs everyday because there is a better outcome for them and their families back at home. They pedal for a better life and overall the American dream.